Charles Osborne, The Man Who Hiccuped For 68-Years

The Man Who Had Hiccups For 68-Years
Charles Osborne

Longest attack of hiccups

Charles Osborne’s hiccups date back to 1922. The man hiccuped for 68-years of his life without catching a break and is said to have hiccuped 430 million times in his lifetime. Osborne’s condition also earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

He used to have 40 hiccups per minute which later in his life reduced to 20 per minute during his wake time and none while sleeping. This was also only because he learnt to suppress the sound of his hiccups while breathing. He was taught this technique at Mayo Clinic when he was in his 50s.

The hiccups started in 1922, soon after Osborne’s attempt to weigh a pig. He immediately fell to the floor after picking up the 158-kilogram hog, that’s when his ordeal began. From then on, there was not a minute when he did not hiccup. Initially when his hiccups started, Osborne travelled to countries far and wide, in search of a permanent solution to his chronic condition. He later gave up because of the travelling costs and the inability of doctors to come up with a definite solution.

During 1987, Abigail Van Buren wrote about Charles condition in a newspaper column, which led him to becoming a world record holder. After the article got published, readers all over the United States claimed to have a cure. There were times when Charles got over 4,000 sympathy letters and recommendations of home remedies. Unfortunately, nothing helped get rid of the chronic hiccups.

Osbrone made it a point to lead a normal life, despite his condition

He would wake up at 8 am in the morning and go for his usual morning walk. Later in the day he would resort to a game of cards with his friends. This one time a friend of his shot him from behind in an attempt to get rid of the hiccups. Although, it scared him very much, it did not stop the hiccups. Charles lived a normal life; married twice and had eight children out of the two marriages. He contracted the condition while he was married to his first wife. He ate normal food and kept his life as normal as he could. It was only in the last decade of his life that he had to switch to blended forms of food.

He sold farm machinery and auctioned livestock to sustain a livelihood.

Hiccups are defined as repetitive and uncontrollable contractions of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm is the muscle just below your lungs, marking the boundary between your chest and abdomen. The function of the diaphragm is to regulate breathing and when the diaphragm relaxes, the lungs release carbon dioxide. If the diaphragm contracts out of rhythm, it causes hiccups. Although, there is no definitive list of triggers for hiccups, they often come and go for no reason.

Osborne believed that his hiccups were caused by the fall. Some years later, his doctor told him that he had “busted a blood vessel the size of a pin” in his brain, causing damage to the part that inhibited his hiccup response.

In February 1990, the hiccups just stopped and a year later he passed away.


Longest attack of hiccups

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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